Henry Hu, the founder of Cafe X, realised something while sitting in a cafe one day. He realised that baristas spend a majority of their time at work moving cups around while making espresso drinks. Naturally, Hu decided to build a fully mechanised coffee shop, with a robot arm doing most of this work. It’s called Cafe X.
Cafe X has opened in Hong Kong and San Francisco and the two stores are able to make espresso drinks involving milk and flavourings through the app and through on-site kiosks. The store sources beans from the area, which is great for local coffee bean stores.
The appeal of this startup is it benefits from the public’s interest in automation and robotics while cutting costs. However, there is still anxiety around robotics and a more automated economy. Most people enjoy their coffee in ice cream cones now anyway.
Time will tell if this idea will be embraced and pop up everywhere like Starbucks. They’ve definitely started up in the right spot, which are places that are dominated by tech folk and that lack coffee competition. Whilst this is an interesting concept, can it replace the more personal aspects of ordering coffee? Does this spell the end of having a good ol’ chat with your local barista?